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Carson-Newman forensics team named state champions

(March 19, 2015) – Carson-Newman University’s forensics team recently captured its second consecutive state championship following a top showing at the Tennessee Intercollegiate Forensics Association Championship Feb. 14-15. The event was held at Tennessee State University in Nashville.

It is the seventh state championship in nine years for Carson-Newman.

“These students have worked so hard to reach this goal,” said Chip Hall, now in his 10th year as Carson-Newman’s forensics coach. “I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Carson-Newman topped a field of teams that included Belmont University, Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University and Tennessee Tech University.

Additionally, Carson-Newman’s Mary Collins, a senior and team president, won a state championship in Persuasive Speaking with her speech warning of the horror of underage labor on tobacco farms. The win also added crucial points to the team’s totals and qualified her to compete in the upcoming Interstate Oratorical Association championship this April. The upcoming championship, touted as the country’s oldest speech competition, has hosted such competitors as Oprah Winfrey and William Jennings Bryan.

Collins also finished 5th in Poetry Interpretation, 3rd in Prose Interpretation, 3rd in After Dinner Speaking, and with her partner, senior Angelea Arwood, finished 5th in Duo Interpretation. Arwood went on to finish 2nd in After Dinner Speaking and 6th in Poetry Interpretation.

Senior Rachel Lee Hicks won a state championship by placing first in Informative Speaking with her speech describing a new finger reading apparatus for the blind. She also went on to finish 4th in Persuasive Speaking and 6th in Communication Analysis.

Junior Erica Hesson was the state champion in Communication Analysis with a speech looking into an online campaign responding to police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri. She also finished 3rd in Programmed Oral Interpretation.

Sophomore Louis Murray was state champion in After Dinner Speaking, using humor to spur his audience to rethink what retirement means. Louis also won 2nd place in Impromptu Speaking, 3rd place in Communication Analysis, and 4th place in Extemporaneous Speaking.

Murray along with fellow sophomores Theresa Anderson, Vincyl Fitzgerald and Erin Murray were all named co-state champions in varsity Parliamentary Debate. In addition, Fitzgerald was named the top varsity debate speaker in the state.

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